Let me say right off the bat that after 5+ years of working nights at the same location, I will soon begin working a daytime job somewhere new! The short version is this past week I was offered a daytime job, which I accepted. For a while I’ve hated working nights and how it’s impacted almost every aspect of my being (and sanity) and for a few months have been looking more seriously for daytime work. I am not even sure how to describe my thoughts or experience; it wasn’t exactly horrific, but it was far from a good thing. I am so ready for this next chapter in my life to begin, but at the same time, I’ve started processing how this change will affect people and remembering these past several years. As I also thought about it over the last few days, I’ve also realized the timing couldn’t be more perfect, even though I never I intended it this way or at this time. I’ve mentioned before a bit of my view on change, how it can be exciting and/or scary, but my past is an integral part of who I am today.
As I’ve been getting myself ready to start a new job and finish the last week at my current job, I look forward to the future. I started to think of different possibilities I’ll soon have, things I’ll be able to do, events I’ll be able to be a part of, and so forth. It’s been somewhat exciting to know I won’t have to be sleeping while life goes on around me. I may be losing whatever freedom people imagine I had not working during the day, but I’ll more than make up for it for it by having the opportunity to be around other people and feeling less isolated from humanity. So I’m more than happy to feel alive at the cost of no longer feeling dead.
Even though I’m ready for the transition, I also have a bit of nostalgia in me, so saying goodbye and leaving somewhere is not always easy, especially since I spent over five years with the same employer, seeing the same people, and getting used to their presence. As I was considering the future, I was also reminded of the first time certain things happened at my current job, although some of it seems so long ago. I remembered when I first met certain people or experienced certain events. I think of how much has changed since I started, who’s still there, who isn’t there, what we do differently, and just different thoughts about what was then and what is now. In some weird way, I know I’m going to miss this place. I won’t so much miss the building, because it’s just that: a building, but I did spend all of my late twenties going to the same job at the same location. I will miss the people I worked with on an almost-nightly basis, even if I didn’t always get along with some of them (not getting along is sometimes part of life, right?). Most of them I don’t know outside work, unless we became friends on Facebook, but I still saw them each and every work day, excluding vacations, holidays, etc. While I was there, I assessed some of their strengths and weaknesses, and I learned something about part of their lives away from the job. I saw people come and people go. I worked under four different shift managers. I changed job positions twice myself, and I saw multiple changes in how we processed work. In some way that’s hard to describe, that place and the people I’m leaving have been a part of my life.
Of course, like most jobs, each day was a mostly predictable routine with little deviation from whatever the norm was, even if there was a new norm after each significant change in how we processed work. Despite whatever changes occurred, I learned just about every aspect of my department, as I became trained by other people or picked up little bits of knowledge from them. I’m also detail-oriented, so I did figure out a few things on my own, as well as notice small but important details, but most of what I know was learned from other people. Due to my years of training and exposure, I’ve come to understand how the process works, how each step could help or hinder a following step in the process, and how to resolve seemingly-minor issues when they arise. I also understand well enough the hardware and the software we use in our business, which has made me a reliable source of information when something doesn’t work right. Because of my knowledge base, if someone was needed to perform just about any task within the process, I was a go-to person, even if I wasn’t always happy about it. There’s a part of me that values desirability, as well as variation of work, but trying to focus on multiple activities at one time can be stressful and somewhat chaotic, and sometimes I just wanted to focus on and finish whatever task I was currently dealing with. Although I do know a lot about the work I currently do, I’ve tried to pass on to other people what I know on how to address issues that arise.
Granted, I am not the only person who is able to do what what I do, regardless of different methods or ways of seeing problems. The business was around long before I was there and has changed since its inception, so I’m confident there are others who can do some, if not all, of what I have done for these past several years; after all, I did learn most of what I know from other people. I think I can point to each job detail and remember exactly who taught me what; I merely brought together the knowledge I gained from other people in order to accomplish our goals each night as seamlessly as possible. Other people may not understand or see issues the way I do, but the people I’ve worked with are capable of learning what they need to know. Sometimes all it takes to solve a problem is thinking critically, understanding necessary details, and testing possible solutions. You just have to be willing to try if you have the freedom and willing to fail if the solutions don’t work.
As to the timing being perfect, I couldn’t have predicted it would happen when or how it did. I was scheduled to be on vacation next week, so even though I’m leaving a few days shy of two weeks after giving my two-week notice, it’s still technically two weeks because I wasn’t going to be present anyway, due to vacation. But more importantly than the logistics of my leave notice, a somewhat significant change in work flow will be happening where I currently work. Beginning later this week, some sort of upgrade/modification none of us really knows anything about will take place; although, the upgrade is built upon a preexisting process. It was an upgrade mentioned by our site manager last year or the year before, and I was interested when I first heard about it; in fact, some time prior to that, I had pitched a similar idea for this modification to someone else, so the idea intrigued me probably more than most other people who heard about it. Since we know so little about the upgrade, what information we do have is limited, while our questions are less limited. We do not know what sort of impact, negative or positive, it will have on how we do what we do. This change starts two days before the end of the week, which is an awkward time to try learning something new and perhaps complex. As someone who is familiar with certain aspects of the system being changed, I’ll be one of the key players in the initial transition for those first two days. After that short time period, things get interesting, but I won’t be around to assist.
Since I was initially scheduled to be gone for vacation right after those two days, it would’ve meant I would return after other people have a week to run into issues and learn things we might not in those first two days, but then I might run into any issues they miss while I’m gone. However, because I accepted this new job offer, it means I will be leaving entirely after those two days instead. Now this might seem like a bad thing because I’m leaving everyone right after a major upgrade and they’re going to need me because of my problem-solving ability, but in reality I know as much about the upgrade as anyone else, so we’re all going into this thing together somewhat blind. While I know the machines and what we do really well, other people know these things well enough themselves. If I were only on vacation, everyone else would be able to spend that week learning things none of us currently knows, and they would learn them without my help. As to whether someone else or I would figure out some problem no one else will be able to, I don’t know, but as I mentioned earlier, I believe the people I’ve been working with are capable of learning what they need to know, even when I’m not around. I may have understood and solved certain problems in ways they couldn’t or noticed issues they didn’t catch, but I’m sure they’ll be fine without me.
As to what sort of impact my permanent absence will leave on those to whom I came into contact during my employment, I do not know, but I hope my presence was mostly positive. As for me personally, it’s time for change, but you will be missed, even if I only saw you at the office.
Update: The upgrade was not nearly as dramatic as anticipated; in fact, we misunderstood what was going to happen. The upgrade we were expecting will come later, at some point soon after I’m gone, but what we got was a patch to help with the forthcoming upgrade. As much as I’d had my hopes up of seeing everything in action, it’s just as well. I may missed that opportunity, but there are other things I’ll soon be seeing and learning. Time to get excited about that.